Business, Economics and Jobs

India: Court rejects plea for probe into finance minister

India's Supreme Court rejected a petition demanding that the finance minister be named one of the accused in the ongoing investigation of the allotment of 2G telecom spectrum in 2008, providing some slight relief to a ruling party that has been beleaguered by corruption allegations for the past four years.

The court ruled that there was not enough evidence of criminal conspiracy or financial gain to justify naming Finance Minister P. Chidambaram as one of the accused, the Hindustan Times reported.

"No case is made out against P Chidambaram and the special leave petition filed against the judgment of the special CBI court is not liable to be entertained. Accordingly, the SLP is rejected," the newspaper quoted a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan as saying.

The petition was filed by Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, who had hoped that the court would direct the authorities to initiate a probe into Chidambaram's activities during the allotment of telecom licenses and charge him of conspiring with former Telecom Minister A Raja, who is still under trial for alleged corruption but has been released on bail.

The case against Raja argues that in choosing to allot spectrum licenses rather than sell them in a transparent auction, he cost the government billions of dollars and contrived to bypass the "first come, first served" procedure to favor certain companies.

In Friday's ruling, the judges said that Chidambaram's poor management of the allocation of spectrum cannot be said to be a product of criminal conspiracy, the Hindustan Times reported.